Finding God, Finding Good

Happy Saturday, my friends!

As a courtesy to you, my dear reader, I chose not to rush something out last night that was only partially finished and instead saved it up for a two-fer today. It was a good call, I think. We went to our friends’ house (also family, incidentally) for carry-out fish fries with their darling and energetic two-and-a-half year old. A great way to spend the last Friday of Lent before the Good one. We had a lovely time, delicious food, and ridiculously good drinks. All around good time!

But today, on Saturday, it’s back to business…

The business of spending a leisurely day with my husband and my pup and thinking thoughtful things.

You know that super catchy song– what if God was one of us?

Well, that.

“It is through our human experience that we meet God.” –Elaine Ward

I guess, because how else, right?

Joan?

“It takes a lifetime to really understand that God is in what is standing in front of us. Most of our lives are spent looking, straining to see the God in the cloud, behind the mist, beyond the dark. It is when we face God in one another, in creation, in the moment, that the real spiritual journey begins.” –Joan Chittister

God is in what is standing in front of us. Rather, God is in who is standing in front of us. Beside us. Next to us. All around us. Seeing God in one another.

Yesssss.

So not “what if God were one of us…” Rather “what if God were all of us.”

Recognizing this is the real journey, but also a hard journey, because sometimes it’s hard to like what you see.

Real hard.

Even so, I have to believe that God is always in there. Sigh. Sometimes it would be so much easier to just not.

But then again, Joan makes another excellent point…

“God restores my soul. God leads me in paths of righteousness for God’s name’s sake.” –Psalm 23:3

“When I am feeling battered by life — sometimes even by life at its best — I take a deep breath and remember that though God is in all of it, God is also greater than all of it. Then both what I lose in the battering and what I become because of it are simply chances to be more of the real thing, to become more than the thing itself. At the end of everything is God.” –Joan Chittister

So even when people challenge us, make it so crazy difficult to remember and to see God within them, Joan reminds us that God is also above us all. Whether we succeed or we fail at seeing Him in the person in front of us, God is still there. Giving us the chance to try again and again.

To me, seeing God within a person means simply seeing the good in them. And I do believe whole-heartedly that everyone has that. Even when it’s well-hidden. Very, very well-hidden. No where is this more true than at work… because at work, I often don’t have the choice of simply walking away for good, refusing to interact. Turns out, every teacher in my entire life was right when they told me teamwork was important. And at this point in my life, I rarely get to pick my own team.

(Note to self re: life goals– work toward a position where I get to pick my own team.)

So then what? What’s a girl to do when she just cannot see the good, no matter how hard she tries? I do not have the answer. But at the moment, this is a big one and one I really need to figure out. How do you find the good, the God, that simply must be there when you’ve tried and tried and tried with no success?

Because I don’t have an answer, at the moment I’m relying on the God that’s above it all to help me out. To prop me up when the other feels just too difficult… to help me get through the week to the Friday that always comes. Because, like God, like good, Friday is always just around the corner and is inevitably followed by another leisurely weekend.

 

Although… on account of the other 5 days of the week, I really do need to figure out the answer to this question. How to find the good, or at least ignore the bad, so that I can enjoy my work place. While I hate to be overly dramatic (not really), I recently finished Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and I was really struck by his theories on suffering. He talks about the purpose present in suffering and how we can finding meaning in such situations. But then he makes the distinction between unavoidable and avoidable suffering, that ultimately you can walk away from. He says that to suffer those ills is essentially masochism. Am I masochistic? Or am I trying to be patient and persistent?

I suppose until I figure it out, I will just have to focus on being the good. Doesn’t really fix the problem, but has the potential to work on two fronts: 1) cancel out the potential for masochism and 2) as in chemistry, if like follows like, maybe good on my part will draw it out on the other.

2 thoughts on “Finding God, Finding Good

  1. Mans Search for Meaning is one of my top 10- changed my life, saved my life- however you wanna look at it. So.much.good. Stuff in that tiny little book! When I am trying so hard to “find the good” I will often do one of two things (sometimes it works? Maybemore than 50%?). I either make it a contest with myself to “make them like me” (not in a people pleasing way but) in an “act the way I want to feel” kind of way,,.find SOME sort of common something. Or I try to engage enough to get a piece of their story that helps me see what it is that I’m bumping up against… WHY they act the way they do. Of course you probably already know/do all this, but in your words I remember so many struggles- even now- with this issue. And so we re-focus and re-remember that God loves every single one of us just the same. Humbling food for thought and motivation to find a way.

  2. Good post Rachel. We used ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ as the theme for one of our monthly CTA liturgy/potluck gatherings. We also made an attempt to avoid using the word “God” during the liturgy and liturgy dialog, to use terms such as “Ground of Being”, “Life Force”, etc. because the word “God” means so many different things to everyone. It was tough to do because we use the word “God” so lightly without giving it much thought as to what that word is pointing to.

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